How Mozilla opened up my mind

Recently I was asked to assist with a two-day leadership development workshop in Half Moon Bay for staff at Mozilla. My first reaction was to be thrilled at this new exciting, out-of-town opportunity. My second reaction was “Wait, I’m a non-profit consultant/coach… why should I be working with Mozilla?” For the next couple of days, I sought the advice of a few respected non-profit friends and asked them what they thought about me going to “the dark side” and helping a huge for-profit company flourish when my time could be spend helping those who are more in need and in my opinion more deserving.

My wise friend Angelica, who has worked in non-profits for almost her entire career and has recently started her own, encouraged me to take the gig and reminded me that the non-profit sector can benefit from learning from the for-profit sector’s successes. She encouraged me to “Go learn what they do, steal their ideas, and bring it back to us!” And I know that’s so true… we could all learn from each other, and each sector has something to teach to the others. In fact, why don’t we challenge ourselves to share more in that way? Why don’t I actively seek out lessons from non-nonprofit folks? Obviously I have a serious hang up to the point where I am close minded when I often pride myself in my open-mindedness.

As I was contemplating my narrow mindedness, my friend Rudy humbled me even further. “You know that Mozilla is a non-profit, right?”  WHAT?! Seriously? A huge high-tech company whose brand is a household name is a non-profit organization? How is that possible? I had a million questions. I was blown away.

I unlearned a couple of things about non-profits and about my world view. Just when I was feeling a bit confident and higher than thou, I was humbled. This workshop w/ Mozilla… this is going to be great.

And then I found out it fell through. They found someone closer to them that was available and had already done some work with them previously. Bummer! But I learned a lot in the process, mostly about myself.


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